California is being invaded by crabs. Again. Here's why it keeps happening.

Beaches in Southern California were recently invaded by a creepy-crawly carpet of crustaceans.


People who wanted to take a walk along Newport or Laguna Beach were greeted by thousands of the little red crab-like animals.

The little guys are known as tuna crabs.


Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Some people also call them langostillas or pelagic red crabs, though they're actually not crabs at all. They're from a related group known as squat lobsters.

Though they look kind of creepy, tuna crabs are pretty harmless.

They're only a few inches long at most, eat plankton, and are food for many different species of animal, including whales, tuna, squid, and sea birds.

Plus, most of the ones that washed ashore seem to already be dead by the time people find them. So no danger — unless, of course, you count the danger to everyone's noses from thousands of dead crabs (eww).

What's weirder than the crabs themselves is that this isn't the first time this has happened.

This is a photo from a beach in 2002, for instance.

This was taken in San Diego in May 2002. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

And here's one from as recently as 2015.


It looks like a Red Lobster restaurant disapparated. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

So what's making them appear? We think it's El Niño.

El Niño is a phenomenon where warm ocean currents in the Pacific get pushed up against the western coast of Central and South America.

Swooosh. GIF from Met Office - Weather/YouTube.

This shoves cooler temperature currents out of the way (and can change weather patterns around the world).

How does this relate to the crabs? Well, the crabs normally like to live in the usually cold shallows off Baja California, but if the water gets really warm — like during El Niño — they'll migrate, moving north in vast swarms towards Southern and Central California.

As the climate changes, we may get more intense episodes of El Niño.

Scientists aren't completely sure how climate change will affect El Niño. While we're certain that the Earth is getting warmer, it's hard to predict how specific weather patterns will change. It's like watching a basketball game: We know the score is going to go up the longer we watch, but it's hard to say whether one particular shot will go in.

We do know that weather patterns will shift, and we know for a fact that the ocean is getting warmer. These factors have led some scientists to predict that future El Niño events will become more intense.

Warmer oceans and — maybe — more intense El Niño events? That might mean we could see these little guys again soon.

Photo from David McNew/Getty Images.

We don't know for sure if we'll see tuna crabs again soon, but we do know that climate change will likely force many different plants and animals to shift their ranges. We've already seen it in butterflies and birds, for instance.

As the planet gets warmer, we're going to see more big changes in the animals and plants around us. So these crabs? They might be an early sign of things to come.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Photo by Adelin Preda on Unsplash

A multinational study found that bystanders intervene in 9 out of 10 public conflicts.

The recent news report of a woman on a Philadelphia train being raped while onlookers did nothing to stop it was shocking and horrible, without question. It also got people discussing the infamous "bystander effect," which has led people to believe—somewhat erroneously, as it turns out—that people aren't likely to intervene when they see someone being attacked in public. Stories like this uninterrupted train assault combined with a belief that bystanders rarely step in can easily lead people to feel like everything and everyone is horrible.

But according to the most recent research on the subject, the Philadelphia incident appears to be the exception, not the rule. A 2019 multinational study found that at least one bystander (but usually more) will actually intervene in 9 out of 10 public conflicts.

The idea that people in groups aren't likely to intervene stems largely from research on the 1964 story of Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old woman who was stabbed to death outside her apartment in New York, while dozens of onlookers in surrounding apartment buildings allegedly did nothing. However, further research has called the number of witnesses into question, and it appears that several did, in fact, call the police. Someone reportedly shouted out their window and scared the attacker away for a few minutes, and someone did rush to Genovese's aid after the second attack.

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